4 Everyday Things You Can Do To Boost Infant Intellectual Development

Infant Intellectual Development

Infant intellectual development begins long before your baby is born.

By the eighteenth week after conception babies can begin to hear, and though things may be a little muffled they begin to be aware of noises around them. Not only will they get used to your voice and that of other close family members they will be able to listen to music, become familiar with such things as sudden barking dogs or ringing telephones and be aware that there are often long times of silence on a regular basis (unless of course you are a loud snorer).

One of the most important scientific facts is... infant intellectual development can drastically be improved. That's why I've created a Free ecourse "Develop Your Child's Genius!" discussing in more detail how this is done.

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When babies are first born, focusing still has to be learnt, but soon the blur of his mother's face will resolve into something more solid and recognizable and he will already associate it with your voice.

All that being said...

Babies do develop at different rates!

Some are generally a little faster or slower than others, while some will excel or be slower in one area - a fast crawler may be slow of speech and vice versa. And each child cannot necessarily be compared to their siblings.

If one child is doing all the talking the other may not feel the need. If an older sibling or parents are rushing to meet a child's every need he is less likely to set off crawling or walking by himself.  

One of my in-laws, now a doctor, did not begin to speak until almost his third birthday. When asked why on a later occasion he said 'I didn't want anything until then'.

But there are definite development stages every child goes through.

Infant Intellectual Development Stages

Some may be gone through more quickly or slowly than average by individual children. These were listed by Jean Piaget as first the reflexive stage - this lasts the first 2 month or so and includes such things as grasping and sucking.  The baby is also learning at this time to control his head and to focus.

Next comes what he described as primary circular reactions. This means such things as opening and closing the fingers repetitively as the child learns both to control and what he is capable of.

Next, from 4-8 months the child begins to understand cause and effect as when he can kick out at a toy and it moves or smile and get a response.

From this stage on things become more complex. The child will begin to be aware that things exist even when he can't see them.

It's a great time to play peek-a-boo, or hide things behind a screen or in a box for the child to search for.

From the age of about 12 months comes the Tertiary Circular Reactions (12-18 months) when he might pull a cloth to reach the things on the table top he can't reach. This is the age when children are likely to have accidents, as when a dish falls or a glass breaks, but it is all part of increased maturity as the child learns the consequence of his actions.

At the same time of course the baby is also learning other things.

He is acquiring language - a very complicated process. And language skills are known to be key ingredients for infant intellectual development.  

There are numerous charts that will tell you that at a certain age your child should be at a certain stage e.g. "At 12 months most children have a few words that they can say with meaning and understand such things as, 'Do you want a drink?' Read that as '12 months or thereabouts.'

Most babies will be having checkups at baby clinics and the experts can usually spot it if there is really something wrong - after all they see hundreds of babies, not just the few that you know. Then again not all babies will 'perform' when asked to do so by a stranger in a white coat.

My oldest son had a large vocabulary at 9 months, far in excess of what might be expected, but refused to even mumble when in the doctor's office. Fortunately he had been spying on him in the waiting room and seen him pointing to the pictures on the wall, naming things and matching his hand to that of a baby on a poster.

If you do have a genuine concern about infant intellectual development progress, make sure that  the clinic staff are aware of this. Ask for a second opinion and make sure that no one refuses to listen because you are 'Just a mother'.

You are also the person who knows your child best and wants the best for him. My experience has shown that parents, especially mothers, somehow have an intuition about "something being wrong" with her child. My advice is to follow up on your hunch.

Can Infant Intellectual Development Be Boosted?

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Shortly after birth millions and millions of connections or pathways develop between the cells of your baby's brain. We now know that your baby needs these pathways to learn and think.

Scientists have shown that what a child sees, hears, touches, feels and experiences during the first few years develops and strengthens these brain pathways.

The good news is that they have also shown that you CAN increase infant intellectual development... some say by as much as 25%.

Now, let's just assume that you can increase IQ by 25%. What this means is that a baby with an IQ of, say, 110 can be stimulated to reach an IQ of 137! That's for all practical purposes, genius level! So, if you think about the advantages your child will have, the time to encourage and stimulate your baby is surely worth the effort.

4 Things You Can Do To Improve Infant Intellectual Development

Talk to your baby. Language skills are vital to your baby's ability to learn and think. Obviously, these skills also have a significant impact on overall educational experience. Many studies have found that children who are good listeners are normally good readers. And children who are slow to speak are often slow to read.

But, only live language helps children develop these language skills. Stated differently, television will not develop the same skills. This is because babies relate what happens around them to the language they hear. In short, your baby learns faster and better if you talk directly to him/her.

Also have a look at the many everyday things you can do to stimulate and encourage your baby's speech and language skills, by clicking here

A few everyday things you can do to make talking to your baby easier:

  • Tell your baby what you are doing when performing ordinary household chores

  • Use proper words to describe the objects around you, whether you're in the house or even taking your child shopping

  • Use simple words and sentences and then gradually introduce more descriptive words

Often read to your baby. Some scientists see reading as a more structured form of talking to your child. Obviously, since your baby learns faster and better by relating words to pictures, it is vital to use picture books or magazines when reading.

Here are a few useful tips:

  • Point to the pictures, look at your child and describe what you see

  • Also say and describe the words on everyday objects such as cereal boxes, stores and household equipment

  • Describe the activities in your everyday routine, regardless of what you do

Playing with educational toys. Educational toys are nowadays designed to encourage infant intellectual development through a range of ways. Activity centers, rattles, mobiles, textured and soft toys are all great for starting stimulation, learning and fun. Consult our baby toys review for more educational toys... what to choose and what the best age is to get them.

We suggest very specific toys to encourage and stimulate certain development areas. Consult our section on developmental baby toys.

A few tips for getting the most from educational toys:

  • Describe the toy to your baby while you're holding it in front of him. Give to him to touch and further explore

  • Choose toys with bright, bold colors for visual stimulation

  • Choose toy types which are useful and can still be enjoyed even if part of it is lost

  • Some of the best value for money toys you will ever buy is one which can be grown, added to or expanded... like wooden blocks or construction toys

  • Give 3-5 toys at a time. Exchange them for others as soon as you notice he becomes bored

Listen to music. Music is another powerful way to stimulate and encourage hearing skills and other more subtle infant intellectual developments. Chimes, tunes and sounds are often included in baby toys for this very reason. Of course, you can also pick from your own music collection. But there are also many tapes and CD's on the market which encourage early learning. Or try out one of the traditional children's song tapes.

But there is one caveat though... do not play the music too loudly.

Of course, these are only 4 ways to boost infant intellectual development. I suggest you also:

Let's Hear About Your Intellectual Development Questions or Comments?

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